Spring Happenings

Friends and Family,

 ImageWe have been blessed to have Matt and Aidan Miller with us in Kara for two weeks. The Millers were missionaries here for about eleven years and now have moved on to Rwanda. Matt is enjoying visiting with the Kabiye that he spent so much time with. 
We’ve enjoyed talking with him about the work here and hearing his thoughts on the future of the Kabiye leaders.
 
A highlight of Easter Sunday was seeing five young people baptized in Lassa Tchou. We walked about 30 minutes from the village church service to find water. It was very hot, but a great experience of talking with others about what was about to happen. (see the picture above)
 
This week has been a challenging one for our family as we had electrical problems that damaged several a/c units, lights, and a computer. Most of these things have been repaired without too much cost, but it has been stressful, especially in the midst of hot season. Please pray that our spirits and emotions will remain steady.
 
This next week we will be going to Pendjari in Benin to see some animals. We hope to have some great pictures when we return next week.
 
Blessings, 
 
The Richardsons

Winter Newsletter

Friends and Family,

Please enjoy our winter newsletter which is attached. Thank you for your prayers and support!

winter 2013

The Richardsons

Language and Culture

Since we are spending much of our first year learning language, two languages actually, language and culture are continually on our minds.

It is interesting to me what a language can say to you about a culture. I had been told a while back that there were no words in Kabiye for admitting wrong. This lesson was backed up by work in verbs recently. I started working through the excitingly titled “501 Essential French verbs” and also had been trying to learn the corresponding verbs in Kabiye. In one lesson I had the words admettre, to admit, and absoudre, to absolve. (Yeah, French and English share a lot of words.) Going to my French/Kabiye dictionary, I could not find Kabiye words for either.

How do you teach forgiveness in a place where there is not a word for admitting wrong? Of course, I have much to learn about this culture and some of this could be a misunderstanding on my part, but it is humbling to live and attempt to teach in a culture so different from my own. However, the more I get to know the people here the more I think that we’re really not that different in many ways as well. Actually, the people here seem to complain less than me and work hard for very little pay. I am thankful for their joyful spirits and ever present smiles as they talk with me.Image

Wheels

I was able to pick up my Toyota Fortuner (see the attached pic) last weekend in Lome. It ran well all the way back to Lome, about a seven hour drive. We are so thankful for your donations to make this happen!

 ImageWe have about two more weeks of language and culture learning until we go to the West African Missionary Retreat in Ghana. On the  Tuesday before we leave, we will have another quarterly meeting with the Kabiye church leaders. Please pray for these leaders as they encounter many challenges in their churches without having a lot of the training or resources that we might consider essential. We are encouraging them to rely on each other more for resources, communication, and training as we seek to build a sustainable movement among the Kabiye.

Language Learning in the Village

The Heads and Richardsons are in the midst of language learning in Togo. It is not an easy task, and often one that feels unproductive.

We have lessons in our home, but realize that language is best learned in context. As part of my language learning, I am taking pictures out in the villages where we work. It makes language learning more interesting for me, and also helps me learn how the village operates. I’ll be posting some of the pictures that I took yesterday. (I’m having trouble with wordpress  so the pictures are on my Facebook page. I’ll add some commentary once I learn these words.)

Image

Scenes from a Village church

Jean Marie, Christiane, and Essowe help us learn Kabiye and the Bible at the same time.

Happy Holidays

We hope that your holidays have restful and encouraging! Although we miss our families and friends in the U.S., we are thankful for a wonderful family of Christians here who encourage us daily. We have been blessed by all of your care packages, emails, letters, and phone calls!

Injured Coworker Update

Andrew Stoff had successful surgery in Germany and is planning to make a return to Togo in about two months. Thank you for your prayers through this process. His recovery is going well!

Vehicle Update

Due to some large and small contributions, we have enough money to get a reliable vehicle. Thank you so much for your prayers and offerings! It has been humbling to see you give to us when there are so many good projects you could give to. Ryan will be travelling to Lome, the capital of Togo, to purchase a vehicle next week. This process may take a couple of weeks and require two trips so please pray for safety and a smooth process.

Pictures of our Home

Beth has put several pictures of our home on her blog. Check them out here.

Blessings,

The Richardsons

December Update

Coworker Injured

As many of you know, one of our teammates was recently injured in a horrible, motorcycle wreck. Another man who had been drinking was driving on the wrong side of the road and struck Andrew Stoff head on. Andrew suffered injuries to his face and head and was evacuated by plane, first to Lome, and then to Munich, Germany where he awaits surgery. He has multiple fractures in his face and a split palate. Although Andrew had not been working closely with Ryan since he has been reaching out to a new people group, our family has found him and his wife Julia to be a tremendous blessing in our transition here. We know that he desires to be recover quickly and be back in Togo as soon as possible, so please keep him and his family in your prayers!

December Leaders Meeting

Our mission team met with many of the leaders of the Kabiye churches on Tuesday. We had a good turnout again with about fifteen in attendance. Several different issues were brought up and it was really good to see the leaders coach each other through certain difficulties.

One important development for our language learning that was discussed was having all of the churches study specific Scriptures for the next few months. In our French and Kabiye lessons, we will study the same Scriptures and then go out to one of the village churches to discuss it during the week. The church leaders are always encouraged by our visits and this is a way to connect with them while we go through the process of language learning.

Puppies and More Puppies

On the homefront, we now have five four-week old puppies. We had adopted two dogs from missionaires who were moving back to the U.S. and one of the dogs immediately had puppies. Needless to say, the children have been thoroughly enjoying having extra animals around.

 

Thanksgiving Program

Thanksgiving Program

Please enjoy the attached picture of our children performing a program for the larger missionary community during our Thanksgiving dinner. Merry Christmas to all and thank you so much for your prayers and care packages during the holiday season!

Fall Newsletter

Friends and Family,

Happy Thanksgiving! We will be enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner with several missionaries in Kara but certainly miss everyone back home.

Attached is our fall newsletter. Thank you for your continued prayers!

fall 2012 newsletter

God’s Vision and Our Mission

Our team has been spending time with a facilitator who is helping us refine our mission here. Our mission must first flow from God’s vision for this world, so please be in prayer that we hear Him first and foremost.

Once we establish this mission, we will be able to set goals and break down responsibilities in our team to meet our objectives. In the midst of this, we are looking at our gifts so that we can maximize what God has given each person.

Our mission statement is still a work in progress. We will share it when it is finished, but I can share a few words that will probably make the cut. We are here for the Kabiye people. There are other people groups in Togo, but we are limiting our focus to one language group at this time. We want to be incarnational. This means learning the Kabiye language among other things. Holistic ministry is important to us. It means that God wants to be in charge of every part of our lives, the spiritual, the physical, the emotional. Holistic ministry also means we give all of ourselves to reach those who don’t know Him.

It’s exciting to be a part of God’s plan isn’t it? Please keep us in your prayers as we seek to serve the One who has saved us.